April 13, 2005
Wetland Mitigation Banking: Past, Present, and Future
The United States has been using wetland mitigation banks for the past decade and a half, but only recently have regulators begun to engage critically with the advantages and weaknesses of the approach. In 2001, studies by the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council and by the General Accounting Office addressed the status of federal compensatory mitigation in the United States. As a result, an interagency workgroup created the Mitigation Action Plan (MAP). Released on December 26, 2002, the MAP aimed to improve the ecological performance and results of wetlands compensatory mitigation under the CWA and related programs. As the 2005 deadline to fulfill the MAP’s requirements approaches, has the status of wetland mitigation in the United States improved?
On April 13, the Environmental Law Institute hosted a discussion of the successes, failures, and potential of wetland mitigation banking. Robin Mann (Chair, Sierra Club Wetlands Working Group), David L. John (Chairman, Florida Wetlandsbank), Morgan Robertson (Postdoctoral Fellow, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Wetlands Division), and Leonard Shabman (Resident Scholar, Resources for the Future) provided their expert insight into the effects of SWANCC, the role of Mitigation Banking Review Teams, and other lessons learned from the first generation of wetland mitigation banks. Jessica Wilkinson (Senior Science and Policy Analyst and Director of the Wetlands Program, Environmental Law Institute) moderated the panel.